Wallace Jardine Collection
The Liverpool University Art Gallery, No. 3 Abercromby Square
13th May - 16th July 2004
The downstairs room, the room that really welcomes you to the gallery,
is like the most elegant mid-Georgian tearoom you could ever hope to find
yourself in. On show are mostly lesser known artists and paintings, like
Jack Coburn Witherup’s ‘St Ives Waterfront with beached boats’
and Peter De Wint’s ‘Cookham on Thames’. Also there
are paintings by Joseph Wright of Derby, who worked in Liverpool between
1768 and 1771. Exhibited are his paintings of Charles Goore, a Liverpool
ship owner, and also the daughter of a prominent Liverpool slave trading
family, the Ashtons. There is also interestingly enough a painting from
the Rembrandt school, the artist whose name escapes me, but I recognised
the Rembrandt styling straight away. This is a very nice little gallery,
and though packed into what is more or less a small house, is quite spacious
and covers a lot of artists work.
There are paintings here by Augustus John, two of which are ‘Professor
Sir Charles Reilly’ and ‘Professor Oliver Elton’ who
were both esteemed professors at Liverpool University. There are also
many old pieces of furniture, chairs, dressers and the like and a nice
line in Orthodox Greek and Russian religious Ikon paintings, some dating
from the 16th century. Equally, there are beautifully presented collections
of pottery and plates, including Dutch and local Liverpool pieces.
Then to the star presentation, George Wallace Jardine. I have never heard
of this artist before, but he was a local artist, from Wallasey on the
Wirral. His pieces are eclectic to say the least, especially ‘the
Green Man’ and ‘Collage on Mirror’, which is made up
of seashells and doll-like faces. I personally liked the ‘Portrait
of the Artist’s Father’ which beautifully and realistically
captures the essence of the man, and also the ‘Portrait of June’,
a model who worked with the artist and appears in many of his paintings.
Many of his works are fantastical and otherworldly, and I detect have
allusions to classic literature here and there. He has created new worlds,
his own dreamtime.
Many art galleries can be impersonal, even intimidating; this little
art gallery is homely, and has been set out to get the maximum from a
quite a small space, whilst using to the full the space in a way that
is well presented, elegant and timeless. This place is definitely worth
a visit or two, and is a hidden treasure well worth seeking out.